Writing a thank you note to church congregations or individual members isn't always at the top of to-do lists for pastors, clergy or church office officials, but it's necessary.
Why is it important to say thank you? There are many reasons, but first and foremost, writing a thank you note to a church congregation shows gratitude for a donation or time given to the church. This show of gratitude reminds members of the value their gift had and inspires more giving.
It's also just the right thing to do. The Bible, (1 Thessalonians 5:18) tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Jesus". Thus, you are responsible to thank those who help the church.
There are many more important reasons churches should give thanks, especially in written form. One major consideration is tax concerns. Churches are tasked with being good stewards of their resources, and that includes being mindful of your members' donations and wealth. Your members have families they need to support. By giving them tax documentation included with your thank you note, you can ensure members can claim a tax deduction for their gifts. This safeguards their resources.
How to Write a Thank You Note To a Church Congregation
Unsure how to write a thank-you note to your congregation? Afraid you won't be able to deliver the prose that eloquently conveys your message of thanks?
Don't worry. At Vanco, we've worked with tens of thousands of churches to grow donations and found a successful thank you note to a church congregation doesn't require flowery language or masterfully crafted sentences.
In fact, simply taking the time to send a thank you note is all many members want. You'll be surprised how many nonprofits don't give thanks for donations. One study conducted by Bloomerang, found that only 34% of nonprofits sent a physical acknowledgement letter through the mail. This lack of acknowledgement, whether it is taken as ingratitude or not, can have a huge impact on future donations. Bloomerang found that donor retention rates in 2019 were three times higher for repeat donors than first-time donors. This means it's imperative nonprofits, like churches, nurture the generosity of those who give, especially those who give routinely.
As long as your thank you letter to church congregation members is sincere in its gratitude, it will do its job.
To help you create a sincere thank you note, we detail a few guidelines that are imperative, yet easy to follow. We also created a few examples you can use as templates for your own thank you notes.
Be Genuine and Friendly
It can be difficult to write thank you letters when dealing with a congregation. There are so many of them. Before you start, pray for some inspiration to express your thankfulness in writing.
Reflect on the action given by the congregation that sparked off the drafting of a thank you note. As you start writing, inspiration will follow and the words will flow.
Be Personal, Emphasize Your Relationship
Where possible, make sure you address the letter to the person. Vagueness is a no no, as in "Dear Members" or "Friends". You would not be satisfied or happy to receive a thank you note with this generalization, now would you?
Use their names where possible, this will convey that you care and are a friend as well as their leader.
The language of your thank you should reflect the relationship you have with the person you are writing to.
For example, if you normally address your church member by Mr. Tutt, then use that form of greeting. Alternatively, if you are on a more friendly basis, and call them Malcolm that is how you should address the thank you note.
By communicating with these small personalized details, it shows that you have taken care and thought into writing your thank you note.
“Thanks for helping yesterday” as opposed to "Thank you for helping with the distribution of Bibles yesterday" sounds better, doesn't it?
But, by thinking deeper, you can go further. Try saying "Thank you for helping with the distribution of Bibles yesterday, this helping hand brought the written word to many". It shows how grateful the church is to that person and how it impacts the church itself.
There are no rules cast in stone. Write as if you are speaking how you normally do, to that person or the congregation as a whole.
Keep the Congregation Informed
Recount how their donation or help has affected the church. This will inspire your congregation to repeat their donations in the future.
Congregation members want to be kept informed on how they have made a difference.
Thank You Note Etiquette
Thank you notes should go out within 48 hours of receipt of the donation or action.
Make sure you do not even hint at further donations! Remember this is purely a way of saying thank you for a previous action or donation. Your thank you note should reflect only gratitude and nothing else.
There is nothing wrong with using templates. But, templates are there only as a framework. Change the template to suit each thank you note and the communicating style of the church.
Change templates each time you send a thank you note. This ensures your letters are different each time. You don't want a church member getting the same letter over and over again. This could be off-putting and lead to disinterest on the part of the church member.
There is nothing as distasteful as receiving a poorly-worded letter that you obviously can see was a copy and paste work.
Include Pictures and Photos
A picture can speak a thousand words! So, when creating thank you notes, it is a good idea to include some photos or pictures. Whatever you thanking the congregation or person for a picture will grab a reader's attention.
It also helps support the donation of time or money and shows concrete evidence that the gift has been used correctly and put to good use.
Include a Poem
The power of words should not be overestimated. It is important to vocalize your gratitude regularly to your congregation. You can find some creative ideas to say thank you here.
To raise and lighten up the spirits of a large congregation, you could create leaflets to be handed out at church. These could include, a poem, inspirational Bible verses, or a quote to raise and lighten up their spirits. Here are some examples to thank volunteers.
Dedicated hearts like yours
Are not so easy to find.
It takes a special person to be
So generous and kind.
To care so much for your fellow man
Is a quality all too rare.
Yet you give of your time and talents,
For all in need to share.
So thank you for being a volunteer,
We're privileged to work with you.
We want you to know how treasured you are,
Not just today, but the whole year through."
View other volunteer thanking poems here!
It's Important to Have a Signature
Make sure that the letter is signed by you personally and not by an arbitrary person who is helping you with your admin work.
By doing this you are showing your congregation community that their unselfish donations in whatever form it is, are meaningful and important.
Thank You Note Examples
Example 1 of a Thank You Note
The first example of a well-written thank-you note is to an individual church member and mentions what you’re thanking the person for and the effect their contribution has made.
The church family and I wanted to say a big thank you for your donation of time and effort in helping in our Old Age Ministering during the past month. I appreciate the care, time and energy you have given.
You have definitely raised the level, and your guidance of the team has certainly been exemplary. We are definitely reaping the benefits from your ministering, and we could not have done it without you.
God be with you. Looking forward to seeing you at our next meeting!
Example 2 of a Thank You Note
The second example, is a letter addressed to the whole congregation and has a personal tone to it as well. It also has a place for photos to engage the congregation.
The church and I would like to take this time out to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you, for coming together and helping at the fair. I was filled with joy at seeing you all turn out with your donations of items for the "Help build the new bell tower" fundraiser! I am glad to let you know that we managed to achieve our goal and the building of a new bell tower will go ahead! Every little bit certainly helps!
(insert picture of the newly built bell tower here)
We have managed to see the hand of God at work. I will be forever grateful for your support, kindness, and love. Indeed you revealed the true foundation of this church is kindness and love.
May the grace of the Lord be with you all
Example 3 of a Thank You Note
And, last but not least, a more formal letter to an individual member. Yet it still maintains a friendly air.
Dear Mr. Jones,
On behalf of the church, I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for your donation to the Children's Christmas Fund. We are happy about your support.
Through your donation, we have been able to accomplish hampers for all the children this year. You have truly made a difference and for this, we are extremely grateful!
Please feel free to contact me, if you have any specific questions, we would love the opportunity to thank you again!
With deepest gratitude, and warmest wishes,
Yours in Christ,
Say Thank You
People who give of their time or donate to the church deserve gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude is a biblical virtue. Throughout the Bible, God calls us to be thankful and grateful to those who help us.
This can come in many forms. Verbal praise or the shake of the hand. But the most common and appreciative way to recognize church community donors is by writing a thank you note to a church congregation. Practice what you preach!
Looking for Letter Templates to Get Started?
Without a framework, or an example, crafting an appeal or a thank-you message can be cumbersome. That's why we built a complete guide that not only offers 35 letter samples and templates for nearly any situation, but also offers specific guidelines to help.